Jackson baker creates over-the-top cakes
Katie Goodpasture had a problem. Her soon-to-be 4-year-old daughter Grace had a birthday coming up and she had a specific request. “She wanted a My Little Pony-themed birthday,” Katie explains. “It wasn’t popular in 2009 and Walmart wasn’t making that kind of cake, so I thought maybe I could just do it myself.”
She researched how to make a smooth frosting and bake a moist cake. “It was just a sheet cake with a picture on top that I drew with sugar,” she says. “It was as basic as it gets. I had never made frosting from scratch, and it was so good. But I piped the border myself and was so proud of it.”
She was hooked. Soon she was making a cake for every holiday and begging friends and family to let her make them cakes.
Katie has turned that passion into a full-blown cake making operation from her home. Fancy That Cake in Jackson is where the cake artist specializes in over-the-top creations for celebrations of all kinds. She creates hundreds of cakes each year that take parties to the next level.
As she honed her baking and artistic skills, something got her even more cake obsessed. Katie says their family doesn’t have cable, so she didn’t know about any of the baking or cooking shows on TV. “I happened to see an episode of ‘Cake Boss’ and all they were doing with fondant and sculptures,” she says of the reality show that followed baker Buddy Valastro. “I was watching and just thinking: ‘Oh, I could do that.’ I started looking up videos on YouTube of how to make edible flowers for decoration and that kind of thing.”
As Katie’s penchant for baking and decorating grew, so too did her order sheet. By 2014, she was able to leave her position as a transcriptionist and focus solely on cakes.
Katie tends to work week to week, as most of her cakes are for weekend parties. She thinks of herself as more of an artist than a baker. Katie takes on just a few clients each week as she wants each cake to get the TLC and creativity she’s known for.
“I don’t do small and simple,” she says. “There’s lots of other people who are great at doing small and simple. I keep my calendar open for neat stuff.”
Katie’s process is pretty consistent. A would-be customer shares their ideas or photo inspiration with her and they come up with a design or sketch as well as a size. Monday and Tuesday focus on making her frosting and fondant as well as sculptures or flowers. She marks holes for the custom cake boards her husband, Jon, makes for each cake as well. Wednesday and Thursday are baking days and all the decorating is done on Thursday and Friday.
In addition to the classic elegance of her multitier wedding cakes, Katie also makes grooms’ cakes. These cakes might be incredible replicas of a bottle of the groom’s favorite beer or spirit, an homage to his favorite sports team or a scene with a hunter and his dog with the message: “The Hunt is Over!”
Katie made a memorable cake for a groom who loved both playing his electric guitar and Batman. With weeks of planning, she designed, baked and constructed a 3D cake of Batman playing an electric guitar. The finished product was a showstopper, especially with her finishing touch of a cape made of edible fabric which blew in the wind at the outdoor wedding.
Katie received the biggest and maybe most challenging task of her more than 10 years as a cake artist this past year when she was commissioned by the Friends of the Missouri Governor’s Mansion to create the cake for the sesquicentennial celebration at the mansion.
She made a 2-foot-tall cake that served more than 230 people. “It was huge, like so absolutely big,” she says. “It was a 16-inch bottom tier with a 13-inch second tier stacked on, and on the top was a huge cake that I created to look like the mansion.”
The cake was one of two she made for the party that night. The first lady also requested Katie make a cake for the governor who was celebrating his 66th birthday. She made a cake featuring a pair of sixes with farm scenes and a tractor on top, which could serve another 120. “Let’s just say no one went hungry for cake that night,” she says.
Katie charges per serving. The base price for most cakes is $3.50 per serving and goes up depending on how much custom work goes into each cake and the time spent decorating. Her minimum order is $200 for cakes and $350 for 3D carved cakes.
The hours and hectic week of planning and work are worth it for Katie when she gets to make the deliveries.
“When the customer is blown away with the finished product is what gets me excited about this; I love knocking peoples’ socks off,” she says. “And sometimes the cakes might have features or meaning for loved ones and you can tell how much it means to them. Sometimes it’s my goal to make people cry.”